This thesis argues that changes in training and skills development in construction careers and the decline in fulltime employment opportunities in the industry have affected the absorption of new entrants. Learners struggle to access practical workplace training resulting in many failing to complete their qualifications and qualify as artisans. Understanding learners’ aspirations for choosing construction careers is important for the development of industry aligned training programmes and absorption into workplaces.
This study investigated the career aspirations of learners enrolled in the construction NC(V) programme at TVET colleges using Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription and compromise. The study examined the reasons learners choose construction careers, the compromises that influence these decisions and the learners’ expected careers after graduating from college.
The study used questionnaires and focus group discussion to study the educational and socioeconomic background of learners enrolled in the NC(V) programme at two colleges. Their motivation for enrolling in construction programmes, experiences at college and its impact on their career expectations were also investigated.
The study concludes that the construction TVET programme attracts an equal number of Grade 9 and 12 learners, evenly spread between female and male participants. The study further shows that role models and parental education does not seem to have a significant influence of career aspirations, and learners mainly get information on construction careers from the electronic media. The study concludes that learners enrol in TVET colleges because of accessibility and availability of financial support in these colleges.
The study makes the following recommendation to meet the career aspirations and improve the career outcomes of construction TVET learners. Firstly, school level career guidance must be initiated at Grade 9 to assist learners with their subject and post school educational choices. TVET colleges must establish closer working relationship with industry to expose learners to construction careers early in their studies. Partnerships must be initiated between the construction industry and TVET colleges to assist learners to differentiate between the different construction careers and the educational streams required to reach them. And lastly, encouraging and supporting female participation in the construction industry by exposing learners to areas of specialisation that offer careers beyond the conventional, physically demanding construction trades.